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Shanghai Pudong becomes first Asian Cup venue to officially open

Shanghai Pudong has become the first AFC Asian Cup China 2023 stadium to be officially opened in a ceremony that was beamed across the continent.

The 37,000-capacity arena is one of 10 venues that will host the tournament. Eight stadiums are still under construction with one being expanded ahead of the Asian football championship being staged in China in two years’ time.

Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium was opened in conjunction with the launch of the official AFC Asian Cup China 2023 logo.

“The inauguration of the competition official logo and Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 marks a new stage in the preparations for the tournament,” said H.E. Du Zhaocai, China’s vice minister of the general administration of sports and executive chairman of the 2023 local organising committee.

“Since the establishment of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Local Organising Committee in 2020, all the preparatory work has been carried out smoothly and orderly. The Local Organising Committee is confident that the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will be an excellent, prominent and outstanding football event.”

Organisers said the Pudong stadium comprises a pioneering seating bowl design that maximises the viewing experience from all seats. This will enable an “intimate atmosphere for the Continent’s passionate spectators during the tournament”, the AFC said in a statement. The white metal exterior design of the stadium is intended to be reminiscent of a Chinese porcelain bowl.

10 host cities will stage the championships from June 16 to July 16, 2023. The new Beijing Workers’ Stadium will host the final.

The AFC said: “Significant progress also continues to be made across all other nine stadiums – the Beijing Workers’ Stadium, Tianjin Binhai Football Stadium, Chongqing Longxing Football Stadium, Chengdu Phoenix Hill Stadium, Xi’an International Football Center, Dalian Suoyuwan Football Stadium, Qingdao Youth Football Stadium, Xiamen Egret Stadium, and Suzhou Kunshan Football Stadium.”

The staging of the 2023 Asian Cup is widely being looked upon as China’s opportunity to prove its hosting credentials as part of long-held ambitions to land the FIFA World Cup.

Images: 2021 Asian Football Confederation (AFC)